Feeds

O2 flogs logs of mobe locations to anyone with a wallet

This anonymised guy lives here, works there ...

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Telefonica, the owner of the O2 brand, has set up a new division to exploit its massive heap of customer data. This means selling punters' movement patterns and the number of people ambling through a particular spot to anyone with the cash.

Telefónica Dynamic Insights will sift through the data to see what's worth selling, while market research biz Gfk will hawk the information. The first product, Smart Steps, is fully anonymised, just selling the number of people walking past a particular location, but add information about where they came from and the bundle becomes quite valuable.

Telefonica emphasises the power of big data for social good, suggesting the Smart Steps could be used "to help town councils measure how many more people visit their high street after the introduction of free car parking, farmers markets, or late night shopping", but one has to wonder how many local councils will stump up the money.

Not that it should be expensive, once the analysis tools are in place it's just a matter of crunching the numbers. Telefonica, in common with all European mobile operators, is required to store two years' worth of location data for every customer in case the police take an interest, so the information is all cluttering up the place regardless.

Neither is Telefonica alone in selling location data: Vodafone, for example, provides tracking information to TomTom for its real-time traffic information, and other operators have similar deals though they're not always so blatant about it.

It's always been strange to see demonstrators and police producing wildly divergent numbers for those attending a protest, while the network operators have long been sitting on surprisingly accurate figures. Having those statistics on the open market will surely enable one side, or the other, to prove its case.

Mass analysis of this type has few privacy implications, but there's an ever-present temptation to inspect closer which is a concern. Having a visible department selling the data should increase transparency and let us see what's being sold, for as long as we keep watching. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.